THE ANNUAL Durban International Film Festival is growing and breaking boundaries.
Having begun July 13 it ends on
23, filmmakers and producers from all walks of life, are permanent features at the gathering one could easily coin “Oscars of filmmakers”.
The National Film and Video Foundation raised the bar by inviting corps members and our proudly SA film producers to hop along the Premier Classe train to Durban for an experience.
From young-ones to established industry players such as guru Angus Gibson, affable Thapelo Mokoena, likeable Rolie Nikiwe, the train sojourn afforded both world’s to mingle, interact on issues affecting film industry and its intricacies such as funding and black representation, amongst others.
“We want to increase the industry’s understanding of our work, and build our own understanding of the challenges faced by filmmakers, so we’re looking at a two-way conversation,” says NFVF CEO Zama Mkosi at the fest, addressing delegates.
“We want to ensure that the film industry understands why we do what we do, and at the same time ensure we better understand the challenges they face.”
The DIFF allows the nuts and bolts of the industry to be discussed.
Mokoena says the festival would allow industry players to discuss issues such as funding that most black emerging film-makers face.
“It’s a good platform and NFVF should be applauded for taking stock and engage on nationwide consultations to mitigate and understand our challenges,” he said “instead of dealing faceless people”.
“These kinds of gatherings should happen more often because this is the key denominator for our craft,” says Mokoena, who also highlighted the mission for NFVF should be to grow the sector.
On funding Mkosi said:”We can’t ignore the recent criticism of our funding model, for example, so we’re embarking on a structured process to explain our strategy and processes, and find ways of increasing the impact of our funding and our marketing capacity,” she noted.
The festival also had representatives from the North West Province, whose mission is to establish the NW Film Commission (its first)as mandated by Premier Supra Mahumapelo.
According to film producer Kea Malawe, they will engage with other commissions and impart ideas on the establishment of the NW Film Commission.
“We have the support of the Premier who gave us four months to craft our magic,” he said excitedly.
Industry giant Jerry Mofokeng Makhetha says despite challenges beset the industry, he was happy with turn-out from young film-makers at the fest.
“During my interaction, I will tell them to celebrate ourselves before outsiders do.”
SA has got an abundance of talent, it needs refining, that’s all,” says bra Jerry, who is NFVF board member.
On a rather somber mood, I posed to bra Jerry on the passing-on of Ray “Chikapa” Phiri, and for a minute was lost for words but echoed that in 1987 he went to a school in New York.
Upon arrival in the room, someone played a video of Graceland by Paul Simon.
“I was in great deal of tears when Ray and Simon appeared in that video.”
“A book on his journey should be written.
A lot needs to be told. What a great loss. He was a giant,” says bra Jerry.